Letters: Police charges threaten Hogmanay celebrations

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It was with some dismay that I read of the threat to Edinburgh’s Hogmanay from the proposal to introduce a commercial charge on policing the event.

I well understand the difficulties faced by the police due to funding restrictions, but at face value the decision looks crazy and is potentially deeply damaging to Edinburgh’s tourism industry and reputation.

Edinburgh’s Hogmanay and its Christmas Festival give our city the world’s biggest and best winter festivals in much the same way as Edinburgh has the world’s biggest summer festivals.

These events help support the jobs of 30,000 people in the Edinburgh area.

Without the success of Edinburgh’s Hogmanay as a lynchpin of the tourism calendar, the reputation of the city could be deeply damaged.

Hogmanay also gives Edinburgh huge amounts of positive publicity around the globe that many other cities would love to have.

Charging for policing is a serious threat to this year’s activities and to tourism jobs in the city.

Since its inception our Hogmanay celebrations have improved to become a great model of a hugely successful event where large numbers of Edinburgh people and visitors can celebrate together.

It is also a huge success in that most of the people drink sensibly and there are often fewer arrests and less trouble than an average Saturday night.

I do understand the challenges faced by the police in balancing budgets and controlling spending, but I would urge a rethink on a measure that could seriously damage one of our world class events, and could seriously damage the city’s hard earned reputation as the UKs second city of tourism. Hopefully common sense will prevail.

Donald Anderson, The Spinney, Edinburgh

A9 speed cameras are a welcome safety feature

THE news that average speed cameras have now been switched on in one of Scotland’s most notorious roads, the A9, as part of a plan to improve safety and save lives is not before time (News, October 28).

A higher speed limit of 50mph for HGVs has also come into force, aimed at reducing driver frustration.

Hopefully these new measures will help to reduce the many accidents and fatalities on this most dangerous road, which have occured for years.

Mrs June Fleming, Hercus Loan, Musselburgh

No more undemocratic referendums, please

NOW that the referendum is over, it is time to reflect on what it meant and on David Cameron’s role in particular.

A British Prime Minister who actually went along with the notion that millions of British citizens could be deprived of their nationality and citizenship rights, built up over centuries, by a simple majority of ‘Yes’ votes!

Can you imagine a French citizen or an American accepting such a proposition? We even went to war to defend 2000 British citizens in the Falkland Islands.

We should never again have the legal or constitutional possibility of such a horrendous and undemocratic fiasco.

David Wilson, Watson Crescent, Edinburgh

Tram loan interest is just as bad as PFIs

TAXPAYERS are forking out £20,000 a day in interest payments on Edinburgh trams. The whopping sum goes to service the £123 million loan taken out to cover the overspend on the delay-hit project.

Alex Salmond and the Scottish Government never wanted the trams, but Labour, Tories and Lib Dems out-voted his minority government.

The SNP gave the trams £500m out of the Scottish budget. But Salmond was right and the chickens have come home to roost.

We know that year after year local taxpayers will be hammered by endless payments to bankers.

The trams were only to cost £545m. Now the final figure will be closer to £1 billion.

It’s yet another PFI scenario on top of the money taxpayers are forking out for hospitals and schools that will never be ours.

Just think what we could have done with the money. Our roads, for a start, are in a criminal state, and we could have funded more nurses, doctors and schools.

Jim Hill, Stenhouse Avenue, Edinburgh

Nicola should forget another referendum

INSTEAD of Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon touring the country preaching to the converted and selling T-shirts and mugs, her time would be better spent dealing with issues such as the state of the roads, leisure centres closing, public toilets closing, grassed area not being cut, cobbled streets being covered over, etc.

She talks a lot about abiding by the referensum result, yet she is still obsessed with another 

As an independence referendum is a massive constitutional change, are we to expect Nicola to include England, Wales and Northern Ireland in any future vote?

Ross Fairburn, Musselburgh